Do you suddenly find yourself looking for remote work due to the new normal we’re all experiencing during the spread of COVID-19? You’re not alone. States across the country are reporting that rates of unemployment are skyrocketing, and it’s a trend that doesn’t seem likely to let up soon enough for most folks’ comfort.
We spoke to the teams at three leading national career agencies to find out how the remote work landscape is trending at the moment, and to ask them to share their best tips for job seekers newly entering the remote work job market. Here’s what they had to say.
The Mom Project (“Connecting talented women with world-class employers that respect work and life integration”)
“The Mom Project has seen a marked increase in remote roles and projects on the marketplace, and, similarly, very high demand for candidates with the willingness and skills to effectively collaborate and deliver results remotely,” reports Colleen Curtis, Head of Community at The Mom Project. “Over the past 10 days, we’ve seen a doubling in remote roles posted, as compared with the baseline, and we expect that trend to continue as the workforce and businesses adjust to a temporary (albeit lengthy) new normal.”
So how you can make sure you’re at the top of the pile when it comes to all these amazing new opportunities? “In the very near term, it will be critical for candidates on active job searches to lead with clear and tangible skill articulation and how it can relate to a company’s current needs. Answer the question for the company: “How can I bring stability and experience to drive business forward, specifically if needed in a remote capacity?” Answer the question for yourself: “What is my superpower and how is that especially relevant right now?”
The Swing Shift (“The destination for women in career transition“)
The Swing Shift’s Head of Operations & Programming Sarah Duenwald reports: “We’ve seen an uptick in hiring for both customer service and executive administrative roles.” The implication: You’ll be working from home at least at first, and that means a working familiarity with remote technologies like Zoom and Skype as well as Microsoft Teams and Slack will be key, as well as awareness of online etiquette for each technology. She continues, “When interviewing, you want to highlight and give examples of how you are self-motivated, a proactive problem solver, and your ability to work autonomously.”
The Swing Shift’s CEO Nancy McSharry Jensen also has general guidance for folks making a transition: “Take stock of what you’ve been doing, where you think you want to go, then make a job search plan. But let’s face it: in some instances, people need to get work, and fast, to pay the bills.” She advises considering staffing and consulting agencies, which fill contract and shorter-term roles at larger companies.
Jensen notes that, “In both cases, while there’s a pause in retail, hospitality and travel, there’s opportunity in growth industries, including healthcare, warehouse, delivery and e-commerce.” Look at your transferable skills and consider what’s offered in those industries. Jensen also suggests that you “be okay with taking a role that may not be your dream job, but will be a lily pad to help you get there down the road.”
They also advise that you check out The Swing Shift’s free weekly Hangout Habits workshop, where they network, practice and hangout online. Upcoming topics include tough interview questions; remote interview tips; pitch practice; and on 4/16, the Power of Mentorship with Sarah Haggard, CEO of Tribute. They meet every Thursday live and online at 10:00 a.m. PDT.
Creative Circle (“We Connect Digital Creatives”)
Natasha Costello, Lead Account Executive at Creative Circle, reports: “It’s a little too early to talk about a trend line, but right now we’re seeing our larger tech clients are shifting quickly and without too much disruption. Our freelancers are shifting to remote work on their behalf, which most are already equipped to do, and we are working with the companies to continue to staff up remotely for the foreseeable future. Some of our more established clients have shied away from WFH historically, and now find themselves having to embrace a remote workforce. They’re asking us to help with equipment, software, instructions — and we are stepping up to help every client and (more importantly) keep every freelancer employed.”
And if you’re looking to make the transition into remote work? “Now is the time to become more resilient and versatile. Be open to any opportunity that could lead in the right direction, even if it’s not what you were planning or expecting. Look for resources to educate yourself. If you have the budget to get an online degree or certification, great; however many online learning platforms are now offering free or discounted education opportunities.
“Also,” she adds, “Consider consulting, freelance and project-based work instead of a full-time role — be agile about your job search so that you can build your experience.”
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